State Rep. Rich Grucela (D-Northampton) has just introduced legislation designed to save lives. It will require every school district to employ full-time nurses. These professionals are often a child's only resource for conditions like asthma and diabetes, or drug and alcohol abuse, school violence and teenage pregnancy.
"School nurses are of fundamental importance to a successful school system," said Grucela, a former teacher who also serves on the House Education Committee. "They help create and maintain a safe school environment through education and outreach, in addition to performing essential health screenings and immunizations. They are also familiar with and can monitor chronic illnesses, which could require immediate attention at any given time."
"Most importantly, if a medical emergency arises, a school nurse is a professional health-care provider who is on hand to immediately assist a student," Grucela added.
The cost for this proposal would be evenly shared by the state and individual school districts.
According to a 2008 National Association of School Nurses report, Pennsylvania schools have one nurse for every 832 students. That's much better than the national average, which is one nurse for every 1,461 students. More than 50% of U.S. public schools have no full-time Registered Nurses.